Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Kelly Kraft surgers to the lead in West Virginia

Kelly Kraft surgers to the lead in West Virginia

Kraft has been on the tour for three years and has never led a tournament after 36 holes, but credited his improved play to an attitude adjustment he made after failing to make the cut at the Quicken Loans National last week.

The Old White TPC dried out on a sunny Saturday and scores weren't as low as the first two days when rains softened the course and yielded eight rounds of 63 or better.

Kraft was one of the last ones out Friday but came up with a 7-under 63 to jump a pair in at 12 under and post a 13-under 127 for a one-shot lead.

Kraft finished fifth at last year's tournament in West Virginia. "I just feel like I'm ready to keep playing good".

Lahiri had four birdies in the first five holes to move to 7-under and was tied 2nd at one stage.

Kraft said he struggled judging the speed of his putts.

"I made a lot of putts out there", said Kraft, who drained birdie putts of 27 and 21 feet as well as converting plenty of mid-range efforts. "I'm just looking for two more low ones and a bunch of scoring opportunities".

Behind Kraft is a two-way tie for second between Anriban Lahiri and Webb Simpson, both one shot back at 12 under. Both shot 65. Sam Saunders was alone in fifth place at 12 under after a 67.

His first visit to the Greenbrier looks promising. Four of his nine birdies were putts of 18 feet or longer. "Last year I didn't putt so well. I've seen the improvement on the golf course", Lahiri said. And I'm happy that, more than anything else, I haven't dropped a shot.

"But I'm not thinking about that".

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Simpson also started on the back nine and made birdie on No. 10 before he hit a tee shot similar to No. 13 in round one. "It was not the shots I wanted on 11, 12 and 13, but I am going to learn from it and maybe change the shot up for those holes tomorrow". He made five birdies the rest of his round. "Seemed like I had a makeable look on every hole".

"But I don't really lack confidence. I weathered that storm and made some birdies there on the front nine to keep it under par and give myself a chance for the weekend".

Whee Kim sits three shots back after shooting a second-round 68.

Simpson was the only golfer among the top six on the leaderboard with a PGA Tour win. Since its 2010 debut, the tournament has produced four first-time winners, including three rookies. Phil Mickelson posted a 69 and was at 5 under.

Kim said she will not be nervous. The tour hasn't released the schedule for the coming season. He's four shots ahead of Joakim Lagergren (69) and Ryan Fox (70).

"Having two days like this is important, now comes the hard part of going the next two and enjoying it because you've done all the hard work to get back to here".

Willett is relieved to finally be injury free after knee, back and shoulder problems. "So I'm glad I find myself up here this week, and see if I can continue the good play".

Aditi Ashok shot her third straight round in the 60s with a three-under 69 and moved to 11-under 205 at the Thornberry LPGA Classic in Oneida on Saturday.

Defending champion Katherine Kirk, who has been unable to follow up on her 10-under 62 from Thursday, is one of five players at 14 under.

Kim, who is seeking her first win of the season, was a disappointing 25th at last week's KPMG Women's PGA Championship.

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